Game Of Thrones: Finale Recap, Ending Explained, Reviews, Easter Eggs, And More From Season 8
Game of Thrones's final season, and the series as a whole, is over. In our Game of Thrones finale review we described it as a fitting finale, even if the journey there depicted in Season 8 was botched in numerous regards. For many viewers, it offered much of what they wanted to see, namely someone taking the Iron Throne and providing some insight into what the future of the Starks will be. However, it was hard to shake the feeling that it was all a bit rushed and as if many of the complaints could have been addressed with additional episodes or an extra season.
The finale marks the end of the story that began way back in 2011--or, really, the '90s, when George RR Martin began publishing the A Song of Ice and Fire book series upon which the show is based. Interestingly, a Game of Thrones actor recently claimed Martin is done with the last two books, and that only because of a deal with the showrunners has he held back on publishing them. Sadly, Martin has categorically denied that's true.
One of the big headlines out of this season didn't involve the events of the show. Instead, it was when a coffee cup mistakenly appeared in a scene. With the finale, we've now gotten another instance of this, as bottles of water popped up in the frame of more than one show.
But mistakes aside, Game of Thrones was a dense show, with callbacks to moments, characters, and locations you might not have thought about in years.
Read on for a mess of links bringing you everything you might want to know about Game of Thrones Season 8. We've arranged our coverage by episode, but keep in mind: If you're not caught up, later stories are going to include spoilers! You'll find, among other things, a preview trailer for Episode 6, which largely remains a mystery beyond its 80-minute runtime and the fact that showrunners DB Weiss and David Benioff have written and directed it. But one thing has become clear: Game of Thrones exists in its darkest timeline.
Catching Up On Season 8
If you're just coming into Season 8, or are fuzzy on the details of what came before it, you can check out our guide to everything you should remember from past seasons. We also compiled a list of where all the characters are at the start of the season. A number of characters have since moved (or died), but others we haven't seen in a while could still come into play.
If you need a little backstory refresher, read up about Daenerys's father, the Mad King Aerys Targaryen, and what his whole deal was.
Episode 1: "Winterfell"
The start of Game of Thrones Season 8 was all setup for the coming battles, both against the Night King and, eventually, for the Iron Throne. "Winterfell" is full of visual references with Game of Thrones' very first episode, so check out this list of all the callbacks and parallels.
You should also read about why Jon Snow riding the dragon Rhaegal is a big deal, prophecy-wise, and find out what happened to Ed Sheeran's character in Season 7.
Episode 2: "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms"
The night before the Battle of Winterfell saw a number of big moments between characters at Winterfell as everyone prepared to die. It was also full of callbacks, and the character moments were many and meaningful. Arya Stark and Gendry fulfilled a fan ship that had been simmering for years, and Brienne of Tarth made Westerosi history. The episode also included a deep cut from the books in the form of the song "Jenny of Oldstones," sung by Podrick Payne--you'll want to learn more about that one.
- Episode 2 review
- Episode 2 breakdown
- Episode 2 Easter eggs
- Ghost Is Back
- Fan theories after Episode 2
- Behind-the-scenes feature
Episode 3: "The Long Night"
You might be wondering what happened to Jon Snow's direwolf, Ghost. Both were part of the battle, but both disappeared before the end. We can also give you some insight into who the Night King was and what his goals were.
There were a lot of discussions flying around Episode 3 as well. Read Mike Rougeau's take on why the deaths in the episode left him cold, and an explanation of why calling Arya Stark a Mary Sue is the dumbest Game of Thrones opinion on the internet.
- Episode 3 review
- Episode 3 breakdown
- Episode 3 Easter Eggs
- Fan theories after Episode 3
- What did Melisandre say to Arya in Season 3?
- What was Jon's actual battle plan, anyway?
- What did Gendry make for Arya?
Episode 4: "The Last of the Starks"
The halfway point of the season means the Battle of Winterfell is behind us, but there's still a lot going on. Rhaegal made it out of Episode 3 but seemingly was much less lucky here, and that crossbow that Qyburn gave to Bronn came back for a not-so-friendly chat.
Check out these photos from HBO to see what we were expecting from the episode or watch the teaser trailer. Going into this episode, there was an interesting theory about Cersei's pregnancy. And while we didn't get it in this one, Cleganebowl between the Hound and the Mountain is looking more likely for one of the final two episodes.
- Episode 4 review
- Episode 4 Easter Eggs
- Fan theories after Episode 4
- What was the deeper meaning behind Missandei saying "dracarys"?
- Could there be more dragons?
- What happened to Ghost, during the Battle of Winterfell and beyond?
- What happened to Rhaegal, Jon Snow's dragon, during the Battle of Winterfell and beyond?
- What you need to know about Cleganebowl
Episode 5: "The Bells"
The most recent episode to air was Episode 5, which did indeed consist of the big battle for King's Landing. As it turned out, though, it was quite one-sided--while spectacular looking, the full might of Drogon and Dany's army proved to be devastatingly effective. But even with the battle won, Dany went the Mad King/Queen route, setting up a conflict between her and Jon/Tyrion for the Episode 6 finale.
One of the most intriguing aspects of this episode was something that many didn't even seem to take notice of. There are a pair of scenes with Varys where it's suggested he plans to poison Dany. Whether that is actually the case or if his death will impede that remain to be seen, but it's a possibility to be aware of as we head into Episode 6.
- Episode 5 review
- Episode 5 breakdown
- Episode 5 Easter eggs
- Show creators explain Episode 5's key scenes
- Episode 5 Preview Trailer
- Episode 5 photos
- Why Daenerys will never break the wheel
- Daenerys's descent into madness
Episode 6: "The Iron Throne"
The final episode of the series ended with more of a whimper than a bang, but it provided some conclusion to the various plot threads and character arcs fans have been following for years now.
Aside from the spin-offs, one thing for fans to look forward to is HBO's Game of Thrones documentary, The Last Watch. The second trailer was recently released for the two-hour film, which premieres on HBO on May 26 and takes a look at the making of the final season.
- Episode 6 preview trailer
- Episode 6 photos
- Theories for Episode 6
- Young Griff: The Most Important Character Missing From Season 8
- Episode 6 review
- Who won the Iron Throne?
- Daenerys Can't Break The Wheel, Turns Out
- Who was that kid at the Council meeting?
- Game of Thrones has a water bottle cameo in Episode 6
- What happened to the Starks?
- Emilia Clarke says goodbye
- Stephen King comments on Game of Thrones' ending
- Game of Thrones ending explained
- Finale Easter eggs
- Why Jon said "love is the death of duty" and why it matters
- What if Bran was actually evil?